Four alleged members of a Latino street gang that waged a campaign of terror against African Americans in Highland Park have been indicted on federal weapons and civil rights charges, including the racially motivated slaying of a black motorist, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Friday.
Prosecutors said the four, who could face the death penalty if convicted, are members of a clique of the Avenues street gang, which has been a fixture on the Eastside of Los Angeles for 50 years.
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All four defendants are accused of taking part in the killing of Kenneth Kurry Wilson, 38, a black man who was gunned down April 18, 1999, while parking his car on a street claimed by the gang.
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In addition to Wilson’s killing, the indictment cited several other attacks against blacks by the Avenues gang. They included the beating of a man who was seen walking with a Latino woman, a murder plot against a man who had just moved into the neighborhood, an assault on a group of men playing basketball in Montecito Park, and the beating of an African American who stopped to use a pay phone on the street.
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He said their hatred of blacks runs deep: “A lot of this comes from their strong ties to the Mexican Mafia,” a prison-based gang that is strongly anti-black.